Secrets of the past

On April 16, 1970, the Kyneton Folk Museum opened its doors to the public. Fifty years later, the building now known as the Kyneton Museum is still going strong, sharing the secrets of the past.
Macedon Ranges Council is celebrating the museum milestone with a social media campaign that highlights its social history collection.
Facebook posts include historic photos and videos and feature some of the interesting objects that provide insight into the lives of people of the Victorian era and gold rush times.
With the museum currently closed due to coronavirus restrictions, birthday celebrations are restricted to online channels. The current celebrations aim to raise awareness of the importance of the museum’s collection and its relevance to both the shire and beyond.
Council’s Arts and Culture Facebook page features the original video recording of the official opening of the museum by then-Premier of Victoria, Sir Henry Bolte. Attended by a crowd of 300 people, the opening was said to be one of the most memorable and significant days in the town’s history.
Ronda Walker, president of the Friends of the Kyneton Museum, said the site selected in 1968 continued to tell the story of this part of Victoria, from the period of European settlement to the 1930s.
“The marvellous collection that was put together in the first few years has been enhanced by further donations over the last 50 years and now includes more than 8000 items, all with close connections to the community,” Ms Walker said.
Museum officer Meredith Blake told the Express the strength of the collection management policy had been that objects had to have a local provenance, from the towns and countryside of the Macedon Ranges.”It’s very relevant to the stories of local people,” Ms Blake said.
“We have donations regularly and we’re very pleased to be a place people trust to care for their family treasures.”
Ms Blake said one remarkable donation was made in 2019, when a woman approached the Kyneton Historical Society with a large donation of objects from her family’s previous generations who lived in Kyneton.
“Bev Gallagher was able to offer us over 80 objects from 1840 to just post-war and they tell the story of many different individuals in that family and different generations,” Ms Blake said.
“It’s beautiful to have a family’s story as well as the story set within the place of Kyneton.
“Bev was able to give us an enormous family history, which has been really invaluable in putting together the puzzle of who was who in the family and the objects that tell the stories of their lives … an amazing donation that ranges from really intimate gorgeous feminine objects such as perfumes and stockings and hair tongs, right down to a set of vintage carriage maker’s tools.”
Ms Blake said museum staff and volunteers now invited other community members, who were perhaps having ‘COVID cleanups’, to think about objects that younger family members might not be interested in inheriting and consider the museum as a home for those objects.
To view the online celebrations, visit www.facebook.com/MacedonRangesArtsCulture
Share your memories of the museum by using the hashtags #KynetonMuseum and #InThisTogether

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